Red Sox blow late lead, get walked off on by Blue Jays in extra innings four fourth straight loss

The Red Sox continue to find ways to lose games in heartbreaking fashion, with Tuesday’s walk-off loss to the Blue Jays marking their fourth consecutive defeat and their sixth in the last seven games.

Boston fell to Toronto in 10 innings by a final score of 6-5 at Rogers Centre to drop to 7-11 on the season. They are now 1-4 halfway through their 10-game, three-city road trip.

Nick Pivetta, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, allowed two runs on three hits and four walks to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

It was a grind for Pivetta, who breezed through his first two innings but ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third when he issued a leadoff walk to Santiago Espinal. Espinal and Gosuke Katoh effectively switched places when the latter grounded into a force out at second base, but he advanced into scoring position himself on a wild pitch.

Another walk of Bradley Zimmer put runners at first and second for the Jays with one out. Christian Vazquez gunned down Zimmer as he unsuccessfully attempted to steal second base but Katoh moved up to third on the play as well. He then scored on an RBI single off the bat of George Springer, who was just getting his productive night at the plate started.

Despite falling behind by a run early on, the Sox lineup quickly responded in their half of the fourth when Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a hard-hit single off opposing starter Kevin Gausman. Bogaerts successfully stole second base on a J.D. Martinez strikeout and advanced to third on a Zack Collins throwing error. Enrique Hernandez drove him in on a sacrifice fly to knot things up at 1-1.

Pivetta, however, struggled with his command yet again in the latter half of the frame. The Canadian-born right-hander issued another leadoff walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that was followed by a line-drive single from Collins. Guerrero Jr. scored from second on an Espinal RBI single, but Collins was left on base as Pivetta managed to limit the damage to just the one run.

After working hard in both the third and fourth innings, Pivetta recorded the first two outs of the fifth before walking Bo Bichette on seven pitches. Bichette would be the final batter Pivetta faced. The 29-year-old hurler wound up finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (60 strikes) while throwing 52 four-seam fastballs, 28 knuckle curveballs, and 18 sliders. He induced seven swings-and-misses and averaged 93.8 mph with his heater.

In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen. Sawamura stranded the lone runner he inherited in Bichette by getting Guerrero Jr. to ground out.

From there, Austin Davis tossed a scoreless sixth inning and got the first two outs of the seventh before making way for Ryan Brasier, who — like Sawamura — inherited one runner but left him on base by getting Springer to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

To that point in the contest, the Sox had not been able to get much of anything going against Gausman or the first reliever out of the Blue Jays bullpen in Trevor Richards.

Boston’s fortunes changed in their half of the eighth, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers came off the bench to pinch-hit for Christian Arroyo and immediately greeted Yimi Garcia by ripping a leadoff single off of him. Another single for Vazquez put runners at first and second for Trevor Story, who came through with a clutch, 111.8 mph RBI double that scored Devers and made it a 2-2 game.

That stalemate did not last long, though, as Alex Verdugo kept the rally going with a sacrifice fly that brought in Vazquez and Bogaerts followed with a run-scoring double of his own that pushed across Story. Hernandez then drove in Bogaerts on an RBI single that gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead just like that.

With a three-run lead to protect all of the sudden, Hansel Robles was dispatched for the eighth inning and worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

The Sox had an opportunity to add on to their lead in the ninth but could not take advantage of the two walks issued by Ryan Borucki. In the bottom half of the inning, it was Jake Diekman who was in for the save.

Diekman immediately yielded back-to-back doubles to Tapia and Espinal, cutting Boston’s lead down to two runs and putting the tying run (Espinal) in scoring position. The veteran lefty punched out the pinch-hitting Lourdes Gurriel and Zimmer in back-to-back fashion, meaning he was just one out away from closing things out.

Instead of picking up the save, however, Diekman grooved a 2-1, 96 mph fastball down the heart of the plate to Springer, who took it and deposited it 423 feet to center field for the game-tying home run.

Springer’s clutch homer pulled the Blue Jays back even with the Red Sox at 5-5. Matt Barnes got the final out of the ninth and — after his side squandered another scoring opportunity — came back out for the last of the 10th.

Barnes and Co. elected to intentionally walk Guerrero Jr. in hopes of turning a double play. That strategy did not pay off, though, as Barnes walked Alejandro Kirk on seven pitches to load the bases with no outs.

A strikeout of Matt Chapman is how Barnes’ night ended with left-hander Matt Strahm being called upon to face the left-handed hitting Tapia, who proceeded to lace a 298-foot sacrifice fly to left field. Bichette easily scored from third to lift the Blue Jays to a 6-5 walk-off victory in extras.

Next up: Wacha vs. Stripling

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their four-game losing streak against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander Ross Stripling for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Bo Bichette and Christian Vazquez: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ offensive woes continue as Bo Bichette’s go-ahead grand slam lifts Blue Jays to 6-2 win

The Red Sox’ offensive struggles continued on Monday as they opened their four-game series against the Blue Jays with yet another loss. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-2 at Rogers Centre to drop to 7-10 on the season.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, was extremely effective and did not factor into Monday’s decision. The veteran right-hander allowed just two earned run on five hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over seven economic innings of work.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered to Toronto came by way of the long ball. After tossing four scoreless frames to start his day, the righty served up a 380-foot solo shot to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

In his seventh and final inning, Eovaldi yielded another solo homer to Matt Chapman. This one left Chapman’s bat at 107.2 mph, traveled 422 feet to left-center field, and gave the Jays a 2-0 lead.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (56 strikes), Eovaldi induced a total of 10 swings-and-misses while throwing 29 four-seam fastballs, 22 curveballs, 12 sliders, six splitters, and three cutters. The hard-throwing 32-year-old also topped out at 98.8 mph with his heater.

Shortly after Eovaldi’s night had ended, a Trevor Story-lessRed Sox lineup finally got something going against his counterpart in Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios. Up until the eighth inning, Boston had been held in check by Berrios despite having a few scoring opportunities.

Earlier in the second inning, J.D. Martinez made his presence felt after a four-game absence by ripping a one-out double to center field. A four-pitch walk drawn by Jackie Bradley Jr. and line-drive single from Bobby Dalbec then loaded the bases for Christian Arroyo.

Arroyo, however, was unable to come through with a pair of runners in scoring position as he grounded into a back-breaking, 1-2-3 double play that extinguished the threat.

In the top of the fourth, Xander Bogaerts led off with a hard-hit single of his own and moved up to second on a Rafael Devers groundout. But he left on base after Martinez and Bradley Jr. both flew out themselves.

An inning later, Blue Jays center fielder George Springer robbed Kevin Plawecki of a two-out extra-base hit when he sprawled out and made a sensational diving catch on a 101.7 mph liner off the bat of the Red Sox catcher.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, and the Sox ultimately chased Berrios on back-to-back singles from Dalbec and Arroyo to lead off the inning. With Adam Cimber now on the mound for Toronto, Plawecki advanced both runners into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt.

With the lineup turning back over, Enrique Hernandez broke the seal with an RBI single to left field that brought in Dalbec. Alex Verdugo followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Arroyo and knotted things up at two runs apiece.

That 2-2 tie did not last long, though. With Eovaldi done after seven, Matt Strahm got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from acting manager Will Venable in the middle of the eighth.

Strahm got the first out of the frame but issued a one-out single to Raynel Espinal. Bradley Zimmer then dropped a drag bunt down the first base line that Strahm fielded cleanly and flipped to Dalbec covering first base. Dalbec could not squeeze the ball into his glove, though, and that allowed both runners to reach base safely.

That sequence prompted Venable to give Strahm the hook in favor of Tyler Danish, who gave up a single to Springer that loaded the bases for Bichette. Bichette, in turn, crushed a 1-0, 92 mph sinker from Danish and sent it 344 feet over the right field wall for the go-ahead grand slam.

Bichette’s slam gave the Blue Jays a commanding 6-2 lead heading into the ninth. Devers doubled to lead off the inning but was stranded there as Martinez, Bradley Jr., and Dalbec went down in order to Julian Merryweather to seal the defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

Nathan Eovaldi gave up 15 home runs in 182 2/3 innings last season. He has already given up seven home runs in just 21 2/3 innings this season.

The Red Sox went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left five runners on base as a team.

At 7-10, Boston has now lost five of its last six games. They are averaging less than 2.2 runs per game and have been outscored 26-13 during this rough stretch.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Gausman

It does not get any easier for the Red Sox as they will go up against Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman on Tuesday night. Boston will counter with Canadian-born righty Nick Pivetta.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bo Bichette: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Red Sox score early, but not often in 5-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox dropped the finale of their three-game weekend series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday. Boston fell to Tampa Bay in the rubber match by a final score of 5-2, marking their fourth loss in their last five games to drop to 7-9 on the season.

Both runs the Sox scored on Sunday came right away in the first inning off Rays starter Shane McClanahan. Trevor Story led off with a hard-hit double and immediately scored on a groundball single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Xander Bogaerts advanced Hernandez into scoring position and Alex Verdugo brought him in on an RBI single of his own.

So, on nine pitches, the Red Sox found themselves in possession of an early 2-0 lead to give Rich Hill a nice cushion out of the gate. Hill, making his third start of the year and first since returning to the bereavement list, managed to keep the Rays off the scoreboard while scattering four hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over four innings of work.

Rob Refsnyder, starting in right field, aided Hill in the second inning when he gunned down Randy Arozarena, who was trying to stretch a two-out single into a two-out double, at second base for the final out of the frame.

Hill finished his day retiring five of the final eight batters he faced. 35 of the 62 pitches the left-hander threw went for strikes.

Before first pitch on Sunday, it was expected that Tanner Houck would piggyback off of Hill since Boston cannot use the right-hander during their series in Toronto. Rather than have Houck take the mound in the fifth, however, acting manager Will Venable first turned to Phillips Valdez out of the bullpen.

Valdez, in turn, recorded just one out while loading the bases on one walk and two hit batsman. Ryan Brasier then came on and allowed all three of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run double from Ji-Man Choi and RBI groundout from Manuel Margot that gave Tampa Bay their first lead of the day at 3-2.

Matt Barnes got the call for the sixth inning and yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Kevin Kiermaier and Arozarena. Kiermaier, the hero of Saturday’s contest, moved up to third on a Wander Franco groundout. Following a pitching change that saw Jake Diekman take over for Barnes, the speedy outfielder scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-2 game.

Diekman remained in the game in the seventh and served up a solo home run to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays a 5-2 edge. It was not until later in the inning when Houck finally emerged and sat down the only five hitters he faced in order to keep the three-run deficit intact at the end of eight.

Down to their final three outs of the ninth, Verdugo, Bobby Dalbec, and Travis Shaw went down in order against Ryan Thompson to seal a 5-2 defeat for the Red Sox.

Next up: On to Toronto

The Red Sox will board a flight to Toronto while leaving unvaccinated players such as Houck behind to open a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Monday night.

In the opener, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jose Berrios doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centere is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Trevor Story makes game-saving play as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox kicked off one of their longest road trips of the season with a series-opening win over the Rays in St. Petersburg on Friday night. Boston barely defeated Tampa Bay by a final score 4-3 at Tropicana Field to improve to 7-7.

Matched up against a familiar foe in Corey Kluber to begin things, the Sox wasted no time in attacking the Rays starter. A pair of first-inning singles from leadoff man Trevor Story and Xander Bogaerts put runners at the corners for Alex Verdugo, who drove in Story on an RBI single back up the middle. Bogaerts himself scored on an RBI groundout from Jackie Bradley Jr.

Given an early 2-0 lead to work with out of the gate, Michael Wacha was rudely greeted to begin his third start of the season. With one out in the bottom of the first, the right-hander served up his first of two solo shots to Rays phenom Wander Franco. This one left Franco’s bat at 109.7 mph and traveled 389 feet into the right field seats to make it a 2-1 game.

The Sox were able to respond, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers led off the third inning with his third home run of the season. On a 1-0, 84 mph cutter from Kluber, Devers clubbed a 380-foot solo shot down the right field line to give his side a 3-1 edge. Bogaerts tacked on another by lacing a 107 mph double and scoring on a one-out RBI single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Travis Shaw nearly extended the inning with a three-run home run down the right field line like Devers’, but it was instead deemed a foul ball and Shaw struck out.

With a three-run cushion to operate with now, Wacha received some help from his infield in the bottom of the third. After putting runners on first and second with two outs, Bogaerts robbed Yandy Diaz of an extra-base hit by snatching a 110.7 mph line drive in mid-air to extinguish the threat.

An inning later, Story made a sprawling grab up the middle to rob Manuel Margot of a one-out single. Wacha continued to roll on through the fourth and was one out way from getting through a scoreless fifth. Franco prevented that from happening, though, as he took the righty deep once more to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to two. Randy Arozarena struck out to end the fifth, which would wind up being Wacha’s final inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (50 strikes), Wacha surrendered just two runs on three hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts in his five innings. The 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball and changeup a combined 69% of the time he was on the mound Friday.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen in the sixth inning. With some help from Verdugo, who recorded his second outfield assist of the year by gunning down Yandy Diaz at second base, the left-hander faced the minimum on 17 pitches — 10 of which went for strikes. Fellow southpaw Matt Strahm was next up for the eighth and immediately gave up a leadoff single to Margot.

Kevin Kiermaier effectively traded places with Margot while grounding into the first out of the inning. Kiermaier then went from first to third on a Mike Zunino single that was accompanied by a Bogaerts throwing error and scored from third on a Brandon Lowe groundout.

With two outs in the seventh inning of a 4-3 game, Venable went back to the bullpen and brought in Hansel Robles to face off against Franco. Forcing the switch-hitter to hit from the left side of the plate, Robles got Franco to fly out to Verdugo in left to strand the potential tying run at second base.

Robles’ job was not yet done, however, as the hard-throwing right-hander came back out for the eighth. He struck out one and induced a pair of groundouts to send things along to the ninth inning.

Jake Diekman was unable to lock things down in the ninth. The left-hander instead walked the bases loaded while recording the first two outs of the frame to leave things in the hands of Matt Barnes.

Branes was brought in to face Franco and had nowhere to put him. Looking to reclaim his role as Boston’s closer, Barnes got Franco to ground out to Story, though it was no easy play.

After sliding to his left to field the 101 mph grounder, Story quickly got back to his feet and made the throw over to Bobby Dalbec at first base to record the final out. Barnes was credited with his first save of the year as he closes out the 4-3 victory.

Next up: Whitlock set to make first career start

As the Red Sox go for their second straight win over the Rays on Saturday, right-hander Garrett Whitlock will be making his first career big-league start for Boston. Tampa Bay has yet to announce who will be starting for them.

Regardless, first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez and Trevor Story: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts both homer, Tanner Houck twirls 5 2/3 scoreless innings as Red Sox blank Twins, 4-0

The Red Sox used the power of the long ball to defeat the Twins at Fenway Park on Saturday evening. Wearing their marathon-inspired City Connect uniforms for the first time in 2022, Boston bested Minnesota by a final score of 4-0 to improve to 4-4 on the year.

Matched up against Twins starter Sonny Gray to begin things in the second of this four-game series, Alex Verdugo kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the second inning.

Moments after J.D. Martinez drew a leadoff walk, Verdugo swung at a 2-2, 92 mph sinker from Gray and deposited it 437 feet over the Sox’ bullpen and into the right field bleachers for his third home run of the season.

Verdugo’s two-run blast, which left his bat at a blistering 108.6 mph, gave Boston an early 2-0 lead. An inning later, with Josh Winder now pitching for Minnesota, Enrique Hernandez reached base via a one-out double down the left field line. After Rafael Devers grounded out to advance Hernandez to third base, Xander Bogaerts came through with a two-run shot of his own.

Coming into play Saturday in the midst of a 2-for-18 rut at the plate, Bogaerts broke out of his slump by unloading on an 0-1, 94 mph fastball from Winder and sent it exactly 400 feet over the Green Monster for his first big fly of 2022.

Bogaerts’ two-run homer put the Sox up, 4-0. While the Boston lineup was busy establishing that lead, Tanner Houck was putting together a solid outing on the mound.

Houck, making his second start of the season, kept Minnesota off the board while scattering just two hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 impressive innings of work.

The right-hander struggled with his command early on, but — with the help of some double plays — was able to settle into a groove and retire nine of the final 11 batters he faced. With two outs in the top half of the sixth, Houck issued a four-pitch walk to Luis Arraez, which is how his day came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (50 strikes), Houck relied on his four-seam fastball 34% of the time he was on the mound Saturday and averaged 94.5 mph with the pitch. The 25-year-old also earned his first winning decision of the season.

Matt Strahm got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora and stranded the lone runner he inherited by getting Jorge Polanco to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field. The lefty also recorded the first two outs of the seventh before yielding a hard-hit double to Trevor Larnach.

At that point, Cora opted to turn things over to Garrett Whitlock, as he did in Detroit this past Tuesday. This time around, Whitlock was once again efficient. The righty reliever ended the seventh by fanning Gio Urshela on three pitches, struck out the side while stranding two runners in the eighth, and worked his way around a two-out hit in the ninth to close out a 4-0 shutout victory.

Some notes from this win:

Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story went 1-for-3 on Saturday. His lone hit, a fourth-inning single, came off Josh Winder and had an exit velocity of over 103 mph.

The Red Sox recorded three double plays on Saturday: Tanner Houck struck out Carlos Correa for the second out of the first inning, then Christian Vazquez gunned down Jorge Polanco at second base for the third and final out. In the third inning, Ryan Jeffers grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. And in the fifth, Gio Urshela grounded into a 6-4-3 twin killing.

Garrett Whitlock working on three days rest on Saturday: 2 1/3 innings pitched, 2 hits, 0 runs, one walk, and five strikeouts on 30 pitches (23 strikes). He topped out at 97.3 mph with his four-seam fastball.

Next up: Ober vs. Wacha

The Red Sox will rock their City Connect uniforms once again and go for their second straight win over the Twins on Sunday afternoon. Michael Wacha will get the ball for Boston and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander Bailey Ober for Minnesota.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox go 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, drop second straight to Yankees in 4-2 loss

For the second straight day, the Red Sox found themselves with an early lead over the Yankees but were unable to hold onto it in the end.

Boston fell to New York by a final score of 4-2 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, marking their second consecutive loss to open the 2022 campaign.

The Sox lineup did all of their damage off Yankees starter Luis Severino in their half of the second inning. After going down in order in the first, J.D. Martinez led off the following frame with a single and was driven in when Alex Verdugo took Severino deep to right field for his first home run of the season.

Verdugo’s two-run blast came on a 2-1, 98 mph fastball from Severino and left his bat with an exit velocity of 104.1 mph. It also traveled 382 feet into the right field seats to give Boston the early 2-0 lead.

Nick Pivetta, on the other hand, was in the midst of his first start of the season when Verdugo went yard. The right-hander faced first the minimum nine batters through his first three innings on the mound.

Jackie Bradley Jr. helped him out by gunning down Joey Gallo, who was attempting to stretch a two-out single into a double, at second base for the final out of the second and recorded his first outfield assist of the year in doing so.

Josh Donaldson, the hero of Opening Day, led off the fourth with a line-drive single. Aaron Judge then lifted a 411-foot flyout to the deepest part of the park in straightaway center field that Enrique Hernandez was able to come up with.

Anthony Rizzo, who homered off Nathan Eovaldi on Friday, proceeded to mash his second two-run home run in as many days by depositing a 93 mph Pivetta fastball 389 feet to right field to pull the Yankees back even at two runs apiece.

After standing two more base runners in the fourth on a pair of walks, Pivetta bounced back by retiring the side in the fifth. He was unable to carry that momentum into the sixth, though, as he issued a leadoff walk to Judge and a booming, 437-foot two-run blast to Giancarlo Stanton that had an exit velocity of 112 mph.

Stanton would be the second-to-last batter Pivetta would face, as he was pulled by Red Sox manager Alex Cora after recording the second out of the inning. The 29-year-old finished his day having allowed four runs (all earned) on four hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work. 50 of the 81 pitches he threw went for strikes.

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Austin Davis came on to finish things in the sixth and did just that by getting Gallo to fly out to left. From there, Hirokazau Sawamura twirled a 1-2-3 seventh inning and Phillips Valdez did the same in the eighth. It was a combined perfect showing for the trio of relievers making their 2022 debuts.

While the likes of Davis, Sawamura, and Valdez did their job by holding the Yankees to four runs, the Yankees bullpen did their job by holding the Red Sox to just two.

Severino may have lasted just three-plus innings in his first start since 2019, but six different New York relievers held their own from there. The Boston bats stranded Rafael Devers at second in the third, and Bradley Jr. and Verdugo at first and third in the fourth.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, Christian Arroyo came on to pinch-hit for Bradley Jr. and reached base off Aroldis Chapman via a throwing error committed by Isiah Kiner-Filefa.

Arroyo was able to advance to second on the error and brought the potential tying run to the plate with just one out in the frame. Chapman, however, did not lose his composure. The Yankees closer got Christian Vazquez to fly out and Hernandez to ground out to secure his first save and send the Red Sox to 0-2 on the young season.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went a whopping 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and left eight runners on base as a team. They did that while still outhitting the Yankees, 5-4.

Saturday’s contest took less than three hours to complete and was played in front of 46,882 spectators in the Bronx.

Next up: Houck vs. Montgomery

Looking to avoid a three-game sweep to start the year, the Red Sox will turn to right-hander Tanner Houck in Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees, who will roll with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Red Sox avoid arbitration with all eligible players, including Rafael Devers

The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with all five of their arbitration-eligible players heading into the 2022 season, the club announced on Tuesday.

Boston was able to come to terms with pitchers Nick Pivetta and Josh Taylor, infielders Christian Arroyo and Rafael Devers, and outfielder Alex Verdugo on Tuesday, thus avoiding a possible hearing. They did the same with reliever Ryan Brasier and catcher Kevin Plawecki prior to last November’s non-tender deadline.

Pivetta, 29, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $3.2 million in 2022. The right-hander will instead net $2.65 million this year, according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel.

Taylor, 29, was also entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLBTR to earn $1.1 million in 2022. The left-handed reliever may not be ready for the start of the season due to a back issue, but he will be making $1.025 million this year regardless, per McDaniel.

Arroyo is another first-year arbitration-eligible player. The 26-year-old second baseman was projected by MLBTR to also earn $1.1 million in 2022. He has instead avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.2 million salary for the upcoming season, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.

Devers is undoubtedly the most notable name on this list and the most expensive as well. As a second-year arbitration-eligible player, the 25-year-old All-Star was projected by MLBTR to earn $11.1 million in 2022 — representing a 143% raise from the $4.575 million he made in 2021.

There were some rumblings that Devers and the Red Sox were not going to come to an agreement on a salary figure for the 2022 season ahead of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. eastern time deadline and would instead be going to an arbitration hearing. Those concerns turned out to be premature, though, as the two sides have since settled on a $11.2 million salary for the year, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Finally, we arrive at Verdugo, who is also embarking upon his first season of arbitration eligibility. The 25-year-old was projected by MLBTR to earn $3.2 million in 2022 but will actually make a little more than that at $3.55 million, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

These agreements do not preclude the Red Sox from engaging in contract extension talks with any of the aforementioned players leading up to Opening Day on April 7. This is particularly prevalent for Devers, who can become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Christian Vázquez walks it off for Red Sox in 6-4 win in 13 innings over Rays in Game 3 of ALDS

With both teams presented with the opportunity to go up a game on their opposition, the Red Sox and Rays partook in an instant October classic at Fenway Park in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday that spanned more than five hours.

In the process of making some more postseason history, Boston held on for a 6-4 walk-off victory in 13 innings over Tampa Bay on Sunday night. They now lead this best-of-five ALDS two-games-to-one.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his second October start for the Sox after dazzling in last Tuesday’s Wild Card Game, put together yet another strong outing to add to his impressive postseason resume.

Over five solid innings of work, the veteran right-hander allowed just two runs — both of which were earned — on three hits and one walk to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered to his former team came in the top half of the first, as he yielded a one-out single to Wander Franco before serving up a two-run home run to Austin Meadows on a first-pitch fastball.

While Eovaldi’s miscue put his side in an immediate 2-0 hole, a revamped Red Sox lineup was able to back their starter up.

Matched up against Rays right-hander Drew Rasmussen to begin things on Sunday, Kyle Schwarber instantly cut that two-run deficit in half. The left-handed hitter greeted Rasmussen in the bottom of the first by crushing a leadoff home run 390 feet over the Green Monster.

Schwarber’s second homer of the postseason made it a 2-1 game in favor of Tampa Bay, though the Boston bats struck once more two innings later.

On the heels of back-to-back singles from Christian Arroyo and Kyle Schwarber to lead off the latter half of the third, Enrique Hernandez stayed hot by lifting a game-tying, RBI single that brought in Arroyo.

Following a pitching change that saw left-hander Josh Fleming take over for Rasmussen, Rafael Devers broke the tie by plating Hernandez on a run-scoring single that left his bat at 104.9 mph and gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, was in the midst of a dominat stretch at the time Devers made it a 3-2 contest. After giving up the homer to Meadows, the righty settled in by retiring 14 of the next 17 batters he faced. His day came to an end as soon as he recorded the final out of the fifth, at which point he had thrown 85 pitches.

Of those 85 pitches (58 strikes) thrown by the 31-year-old hurler, 33 were four-seam fastballs, 23 were splitters, 19 were curveballs, six were sliders, and four were cutters. He topped out at 99.3 mph and averaged 96.9 mph with his heater.

After Hernandez tacked on additional run to his side’s lead and made it a 4-2 game by clubbing a 424-foot solo blast over the Monster off newly-inserted reliever Pete Fairbanks to lead off the bottom of the fifth, Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora to begin the sixth inning.

Taylor issued a single to Nelson Cruz in between getting the first two outs of the frame before making way for Ryan Brasier, who retired the dangerous Randy Arozarena to end the inning while also getting the first two outs of the seventh.

Austin Davis was then dispatched and ran into some trouble before getting through the seventh unscathed when he got Brandon Lowe to fly out to center field.

Heading into the eighth inning with a 4-2 advantage still in tact, Hansel Robles was next up out of the Boston bullpen. Robles, who last yielded a run in late August, was quite simply unable to hold the Rays down for long.

Wander Franco led the top of the eighth off by taking Robles 364 feet deep into the Monster seats to trim the Sox’ lead down to one run at 4-3. A double from Meadows and groundout from Cruz put the potential tying run at third base in the form of pinch-running Manuel Margot.

Robles did manage to keep Margot at third momentarily by punching out Yandy Diaz on a foul tip for the second out of the inning, but Arozarena — as he has had the tendency to do — did not let Robles escape easily.

On an 0-1, 92 mph slider on the outer half of the plate, Arozarena added on to his October legend by lacing a line-drive double to left-center field past an outstretched Hernandez that allowed Margot to easily score from third to knot things up at four runs apiece.

Robles, who was charged with the blown save, was immediately removed from the game due to a stomach illness — as he left the field with head trainer Brad Pearson — and was subsequently replaced by Garrett Whitlock.

Whitlock, in turn, stranded the runner he inherited by intentionally walking Kevin Kiermaier before striking out Mike Zunino to retire the side. The right-handed rookie also sat down all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth to hold the Rays at four runs.

The Red Sox, however, could not take advantage of this in their half of the ninth, meaning this contest headed into extra innings with a score of 4-4.

Nick Pivetta, in his first relief appearance since Game 1 of this series, gave up a single to the speedy Margot to lead off the top of the 10th. After he got both Cruz to Cruz to fly out, though, Christian Vazquez threw out Margot as he attempted to steal second base while Arozarena was at the plate.

Arroyo was able to keep his tag on Margot’s leg as he slid over the bag, resulting in a confirmed third out upon a brief replay review.

In the bottom of the 10th, with former Yankees closer David Robertson on the mound for Tampa Bay, Verdugo reached base via a one-out single to left field.

J.D. Martinez followed by barreling a 375-foot fly ball to deep center field, but it was one that was caught on the warning track by an awaiting Kiermaier. Hunter Renfroe then popped out to first base for the final out.

Pivetta, called upon again for the 11th, got himself in and out of trouble after issuing a leadoff walk to Arozarena. The righty allowed the speedy outfielder to advance to second on a stolen base that came after a strikeout, but followed by fanning both Zunino and Jordan Luplow to escape a potential jam.

That sequence paved the way for the Sox to finally break through in their half of the 11th, but they could not muster anything even after Arroyo ripped a one-out double down the left field line off of Robertson to put the winning run in scoring position.

Bobby Dalbec, who previously pinch-ran for Schwarber, whiffed on three straight strikes before Hernandez grounded out to Franco at shortstop to extinguish the threat.

In the 12th, Pivetta continued to impress, as the righty sat down the lone three batters he faced in the inning. With the chance to pick Pivetta up in the bottom half of the frame, though, the trio of Devers, Bogaerts and Verdugo saw a combined six pitches from Luis Patino in yet another 1-2-3 inning.

Back out once more for the 13th, Pivetta endured some late-game drama. With two outs and a runner at first, Kiermaier crushed a 381-foot flyball to right field that nearly left the yard. It instead bounced off the warning track and deflected off Renfroe before caroming into the Red Sox bullpen.

As a result, Kiermaier was rewarded with a ground-rule double, though he and the Rays thought it should have been ruled a triple that would have scored the go-ahead run.

Tampa Bay challenged the call and it was upheld, meaning Kiermaier had to stay at second base while the potential go-ahead run in Diaz remained in third.

Having yet to allow a run, Pivetta followed by fanning Zunino on four pitches to send this one to the bottom of the 13th still deadlocked at four runs each.

At long last, the Red Sox finally responded to Pivetta’s efforts while matched up against Patino.

Martinez flew out and Renfroe drew a six-pitch walk to set the stage for Vazquez, who originally replaced Kevin Plawecki back in the sixth inning.

On the very first pitch he saw from Patino, a 96 mph heater down the heart of the plate, Vazquez absolutely unloaded on it and sent it 394 feet into the first row of Green Monster seats to walk it off for the Red Sox.

With Vazquez’s walk-off two-home run to seal a 6-4 victory, the Red Sox are now just one win away from eliminating the Rays from playoff contention and advancing to the American League Championship Series.

All told, Pivetta tossed four innings of scoreless baseball in which he scattered three hits, struck out seven and walked one batter to pick up the winning decision on Sunday.

Next up: Rodriguez likely for Marathon Monday

Neither the Red Sox or Rays have yet to officially name a starter for Game 4 of this series on Monday, though Cora told reporters Sunday night that the responsibility would likely fall to left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

Monday will also mark the first running of the Boston Marathon since April 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Sox will have the chance to cap off a special day in the city by to closing out this series with their third straight win.

That being said, first pitch from Fenway Park Monday night is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FS1.

(Picture of Christian Vazquez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox crush 5 homers, collect 20 hits in 14-6 rout of Rays to even ALDS at 1-1

It was a back-and-forth kind of affair, but the Red Sox were once again able to battle their way back for a potentially pivotal win over the Rays in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

Despite putting themselves in an early hole, Boston bested Tampa Bay by a final score of 14-6 at Tropicana Field on Friday night to even this best-of-five series at one game apiece.

Coming off a Game 1 showing in which they were shut out in a postseason game for the first time in five years, the Red Sox lineup jumped all over Rays rookie starter Shane Baz to begin things in Game 2.

Kyle Schwarber led off the top of the first inning by drawing a four-pitch walk before moving up to third base on a ground-ball double from Enrique Hernandez.

Rafael Devers struck out on five pitches for the first out of the fifth, but Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo each followed by getting their productive nights at the plate started with back-to-back run-scoring singles.

The first instance of the Bogaerts-Verdugo combination at work gave the Red Sox an immediate 2-0 lead as Chris Sale took the mound, though it did not last long.

Sale, like Eduardo Rodriguez before him, was not long for his first postseason start since 2018. That being the case because the veteran left-hander surrendered five runs — all of which were earned — on four hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

On his first two pitches of the first inning, the Rays put runners on first and second on a pair of quick singles. Sale then issued a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz to fill the bases before giving up an RBI single to Yandy Diaz.

Diaz’s base hit pushed across the Rays’ first run of the night while also re-filling the bases for Jordan Luplow, who was primarily in Tampa Bay’s lineup to face of against left-handed pitching.

Sale, in turn, proceeded to serve up a towering, 387-foot grand slam to the right-handed hitting Luplow that saw Boston’s 2-1 lead turn into a 5-2 defecit.

On the heels of giving up that impactful of a hit, Sale’s day was done as soon as he recorded the final out of the first inning. The 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 30 (20 strikes) and induced just three swings-and-misses in total.

Having to turn to his bullpen earlier than anticipated for the second straight day, Red Sox manager Alex Cora handed things over to Tanner Houck in the middle of the second inning, and that decision proved to be quite beneficial.

After Houck retired the side in order in the bottom of the second, the aforementioned Bogaerts-Verdugo combination struck again in the top of the third, as the All-Star shortstop clubbed a one-out solo shot to knock Baz out of the game while the fiery outfielder greeted new reliever Collin McHugh by crushing a home run of his own.

The back-to-back blasts off the bats of Bogaerts and Verdugo cut Tampa Bay’s deficit down to one run at 5-4. Houck, in return, kept the score just like that by putting up two more zeroes in the third and fourth innings.

In the top half of the fifth, Hernandez provided some power, as he led the frame off by taking McHugh 393 feet deep to left field on a hanging slider to pull his side back even with the opposition at 5-5.

Hernandez’s homer was only a precursor of what was to come in the fifth, though, with Devers and Bogaerts each reaching base before J.D. Martinez made his impact felt in his return to the lineup by tattooing a go-ahead, three-run home run over everything in center field.

Martinez’s three-run blast, which came off Matt Wisler and traveled 412 feet off his bat, broke a 5-5 stalemate and gave the Sox their first lead since the first inning at 8-5 going into the halfway point.

Houck, meanwhile, was in the process of stringing together an impressive run of his own. Going back to his final start of the regular season against the Nationals last Saturday, the righty sat down 29 straight hitters before allowing a two-out single to Wander Franco in the bottom of the fifth.

From there, Houck got through the fifth before serving up a solo shot to Ji-Man Choi an inning later, though he wrapped up his evening on a high note and — in the end — gave up just that one run while scattering two hits, zero walks, and five strikeouts in his five innings of relief.

Christian Vazquez, who had been catching Houck, got one of those runs back when he drove in Verdugo on a ground-ball RBI single in the top of the seventh before being behind the plate while Ryan Brasier punched out the side in the bottom half.

Devers, sore right arm and all, added on to Boston’s lead in the eighth inning when he — while matched up against Michael Wacha — scored Hernandez and demolished a 425-foot two-run home run over the center field wall.

The Red Sox went up 11-6 on Devers’ home run. It was also Boston’s fifth homer of the night, which sets a new franchise record for the most hit in a single postseason game.

Hansel Robles took over for Brasier and preserved an 11-6 lead with a scoreless bottom of the eighth, while Vazquez tacked on one more on another RBI single.

Hernandez, meanwhile, capped off his stellar night by putting the finishing touches on his first-ever five-hit game (in the regular and postseas0n). He plated both Hunter Renfroe and Vazquez on a two-run single that made it a 14-6 game.

Given a sizable cushion to work with now, Matt Barnes — who was just added to the ALDS roster in place of Garrett Richards on Friday — slammed the door on the Rays in the bottom half of the ninth to lock up a 14-6 victory.

With the win, the Red Sox pull even with the Rays in this best-of-five series and now have the opportunity to win it back at home.

Red Sox lineup breaks out in a tremendous way

Out of the No. 2 spot on Friday, Enrique Hernandez went 5-for-6 with three doubles, one home run, three RBI, and three runs scored. He becomes the first Red Sox player to ever record four extra-base hits in a postseason game.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo, and J.D. Martinez (Boston’s Nos. 4, 5, and 6 hitters) went a combined 10-for-15 with one double, three home runs, seven RBI, and five runs scored.

Verdugo, starting in left field, also made a nice catch in foul territory to prevent Nelson Cruz from extending his at-bat against Tanner Houck in the sixth inning.

Houck earns win

Tanner Houck earned his first career postseason win in Friday’s win. He has essentially been lights out since the calendar flipped to October.

Next up: Eovaldi on tap for Game 3

The Red Sox will board a flight to Boston, enjoy an off day on Saturday, then resume this ALDS with the Rays at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston in Game 3, while fellow righty Drew Rasmussen will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. eastern time on MLB Network.

(Picture of Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber both homer as Red Sox defeat Yankees, 6-2, in American League Wild Card Game

No J.D. Martinez? No problem. With their star slugger nursing an ankle sprain, the Red Sox took care of business against the Yankees on Tuesday night.

In the first-ever American League Wild Card Game to be played at Fenway Park, Boston held on for a 6-2 victory over New York to eliminate their division rivals from the postseason.

Matched up against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole to begin things on Tuesday, a Martinez-less Sox lineup got the scoring started right away — or with two outs in the bottom of the first inning to be more precise.

On the heels of a six-pitch walk drawn by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts followed by taking Cole deep on a 2-1, 89 mph changeup that was grooved down the heart of the plate.

Bogaerts took that tantalizing pitch and crushed a two-run home run 427 feet to dead center field, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 2-0 on his third career postseason homer.

Kyle Schwarber tacked on another run to Boston’s early lead two innings later, as he led off the bottom of the third with a 435-foot solo blast that left his bat at a scorching 110.3 mph.

Schwarber’s first October home run in a Red Sox uniform put his side up 3-0, and it also marked the end of the line for Cole after the righty put two more runners on in the third inning without recording an out.

Unlike Cole, Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi was locked in on Tuesday night. In what was his first postseason start in nearly three years, Eovaldi limited his former team in the Yankees to just one run on four hits and zero walks to go along with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 strong innings of work.

The veteran right-hander kicked off his outing by retiring 16 of the first batters he faced, taking a shutout bid into the top of the sixth before the New York lineup flipped over for a third time.

After getting Rougned Odor (pinch-hitting for No. 9 hitter Andrew Velazquez) to punch out for the first out of the frame, Eovaldi served up a solo shot that wrapped around Pesky’s Pole in right field to Yankees leadoff man Anthony Rizzo, thus making it a 3-1 game. He then yielded an infield single to Aaron Judge to bring the tying run to the plate.

Taking no chances with the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton looming in the on-deck circle, Red Sox manager Alex Cora went to his bullpen right then and there, as he gave Eovaldi the hook in favor of Ryan Brasier.

Brasier, in turn, gave up a hard-hit, 114.9 mph single to Stanton that bounced off the Green Monster and was corralled by Enrique Hernandez in center field. Judge attempted to score all the way from first base on the play, but was instead thrown out at the plate after Hernandez threw the ball in to Bogaerts and Bogaerts gunned him down to complete the relay.

So, instead of having runners at second and third with one out, the Yankees had just one runner at second (Stanton moved up from first) with two outs. Brasier, in the process of officially closing the book on Eovaldi’s night, capitalized on that by getting Joey Gallo to pop out to retire the side in the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (54 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday. Of the 35 four-seamers the 31-year-old hurler threw, six induced a swing-and-miss.

A half-inning later, the Red Sox got the lone run Eovaldi surrendered right back while Luis Severino was pitching for the Yankees.

With one out and a runner on first following a Bogaerts walk, Alex Verdugo came through with his first of two clutch hits on the night. He first drove in Bogaerts all the way from first on a line-drive RBI double to right field that gave Boston a 4-1 lead.

Following a scoreless top of the seventh from Tanner Houck, Verdugo delivered once more, this time coming up to the plate with two outs, the bases full, and the opportunity to put this one away.

On the second pitch he saw from Yankees reliever Chad Green, Verdugo did just that by drilling a two-run single back up the middle that brought in both Schwarber and Hernandez to make it a 6-1 contest in favor of Boston.

From there, Hansel Robles tossed a perfect inning of relief on the eighth to make way for Garrett Whitlock in the ninth.

Whitlock, despite giving up a solo homer to Stanton, somewhat fittingly closed the door on the Yankees’ season. The righty recorded the final three outs of the ninth to preserve a 6-2 Wild Card victory for the Sox.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox eliminate the Yankees, but they also advance to the American League Division Series. Boston will open a best-of-five series with the Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday night.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)